You wouldn’t believe how much of a palaver it is to buy flooring. After several cycles of order samples – choose one we liked – find it’s been discontinued – repeat, I was finally able to order something. That flooring had also been discontinued, but there was just enough remaining in stock.

It’s just oak-topped engineered wood. Nothing particularly unusual. Are our requirements too niche? Our tastes too passé?

Our house has walls again and new floors that don’t squeak. It didn’t take them long at all, and they’re not even charging much for it. Rebuilding all the internal walls was one of the cheaper jobs, in fact.

We also have a new loft hatch that opens along the landing, a much more sensible arrangement. The ladder folds up into the envelope of the door, the aperture is larger, and we no longer have the dangerous sliding metal ladder that nearly took my fingers off. Good riddance.

We took a train to Abergavenny for the weekend and hiked up Pen-y-Fâl (also called the Sugar Loaf, along with dozens of other mountains including at least one more in Wales) in increasingly miserable weather. As we reached the summit, the clouds rolled in until nothing was visible beyond the peak. Despite the cold and wet, I still enjoyed it, as I did a pint of beer and a vegetable chilli in a warm pub afterwards.

Some bare looking ground, beyond which only grey mist is visible

The view, such as it was, from the peak

A horse and a foal on the mountainside

We passed horses and their foals on the way up

The trip there was subject to the usual delays of British railways, so we missed our intended connection and had to wait about 40 minutes for the next train from Newport to Abergavenny, a tiny single-carriage diesel unit plodding its way through the Marches to Crewe. That’s another Delay Repay claim, already submitted and accepted, and due to repay us 25% of the fare.

After the miserable Saturday weather, Sunday was clear with blue skies.

A mountain (the Blorenge) framed between two pieces of ruined castle
wall, under a clear blue sky

The Blorenge seen from the castle

Abergavenny itself is quite a fancy town, with galleries and craft shops and a zero waste store, plenty of cafés and restaurants, and relatively few vape shops and bookmakers.

I didn’t hear any Welsh spoken except in railway announcements.

What do Chester (in England) and Luxor (in Egypt) have in common? I read a passing comment that they shared an etymon, so I looked it up. Latin castrum “fortress” → Old English ċeaster → Chester (plus a whole lot of other place names ending in —chester or —caster). Meanwhile, Latin castrum → Arabic قَصْر (qaṣr) “castle” or “palace” → الأقصر (al-ʾuqṣur) “the palaces” → Luxor (in English). As for the word “castle”, it’s from castellum, the diminutive form of castrum

Links I’ve found: